Thiruvanathapuram: Expressing deep anguish over lack of recognition to Asian Games medal winners in Kerala, Hockey gold medal winner P. R. Sreejesh on Thursday said that while West Bengal Governor C.V. Ananda Bose visited his house to congratulate him for bringing laurels to the country, no body from his state –not even a village council president — greeted him.
Sreejesh was the goal keeper when India thrashed Japan 5-1 at the recently concluded Asian Games hockey finals in China.
“I was happy that the Bengal Governor came and congratulated me on my achievement but no one from Kerala — not even a village council member — did so. A wrong message is being sent out to the upcoming generation that even if one wins a gold medal in Asian games, none here appreciates it,” he rued.
“Got to learn that the Haryana government has announced Rs three crore as prize for gold medal winners. When my team mate from Odisha went and met his Chief Minister, he was presented a cheque for Rs 1.5 crore,” added Sreejesh.
His displeasure comes close on the heels of similar anguish expressed by shuttler H.S.Prannoy, triple jumpers Eldhos Paul, Abdulla Abubacker who have announced that they are leaving the state for greener pastures as there is no support or motivation from the Pinarayi Vijayan government.
Notably, there have been some long standing demands from medal winning personalities which remain unfulfilled as the state is surviving on loans and borrowings.
Sreejesh is a former captain of the national side and works as Chief Sports Organiser with the Kerala Education department and has been now promoted to the rank of director.
The 34-year-old, who hails from near Kochi, presently plays for Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the Hockey India League. In 2017, the country decorated him with a Padma Shri.